Tulsa Transit Eligible for Nearly $20M in CARES Act Funding

May 1, 2020

Tulsa Transit's share of federal CARES Act funding could be spent on capital projects, like redeveloping downtown's Denver Avenue station as a mixed-use project.
Credit Tulsa Transit

Tulsa Transit’s share of federal coronavirus relief money is roughly $19.7 million.

General Manager Ted Rieck reported the allocation from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act to the transit board this week.

"This is a huge amount of money for us. It’s, like, 82% of our annual budget and three times our normal allocation," Rieck said.

Rieck's priority for the funding is offsetting an expected decrease in funding next fiscal year from the City of Tulsa as it deals with a 13% drop in general revenue.

Tulsa Transit could use the rest on a variety of things, including new services outside city limits.

"Hopefully, if we can show work in Broken Arrow and U.S. 169 and Owasso and everywhere else, perhaps we can show how we are a vital part of the community and attract future investment in that way, which we will need in the long term," Rieck said.

One idea in the works is a shuttle connecting north Tulsa with employers in the U.S. 169 corridor and at the Port of Catoosa.

The agency could also use the funding to update its strategic plan, commission a fare study or accelerate capital projects. Tulsa Transit has a second bus rapid transit line in the works for Route 66 and has discussed repurposing its downtown station as a mixed-use development.

There’s no set date the money must be spent by, but Rieck said the Federal Transit Administration is encouraging agencies to use it sooner rather than later. Congress has the power to claw back unspent amounts.